A fan's observations on the Washington Nationals, from across the virtual divide.

Can They Fill the Vacuum?

Filed under: Fan Experience,Games — Wigi @ 5:36 pm April 29, 2010

In disappointment, there is often opportunity.

In this case, the disappointment is the Capitals premature exit from the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Caps fans and Nationals fans have a lot in common, and I think that you can assume that the Natosphere and the Capsosphere have been of one mind as of late.

I think most people thought that Washington’s collective sports consciousness was going to be focused on the Caps for a while longer. But now, with their Stanley Cup run cut short, fans will spend a few days wringing hands and pointing fingers. But by the end of the weekend, Washingtonians will realize that between now and mid July, there’s really only one sports show in town.

Our beloved Nats.

Sure, the Nats are playing some inspired baseball right now, and they rightly deserve the attention of Washington sports fans. For most of April, the Nats have been under the radar.  But now, rather than having to compete with the (other) red for a month, they have the stage to themselves. This makes me a little nervous.

For those of us who haven’t completely blocked it from our minds, there is a bit of trepidation as the Nationals head to Miami for a three game series against the Florida Marlins. In the last two years, the Nationals are 9-26 against the Marlins. I haven’t completely absorbed the idea of a Nationals team that is playing better than .500 for a month.

It is just a gut feeling, but not much good happens in Land Shark Stadium.

This presents an opportunity for the Nationals. But it also has risks. If the Nationals can win two of three in Miami,  they’ll return home with a winning road trip and the best start ever since moving to Washington in 2005. But anything less (especially a sweep) could convince the casual fans that not much has changed down on South Capitol Street. In a city that suddenly finds itself starved for a new sports obsession, the Nationals need two wins.

Sure, in the greater scheme of things, they’re just three games, and you don’t make or break a season in a single series. But you can make an impression with fans, and heaven knows that the Nationals need to make an impression with the casual fan base. Back in 2005, it was that torrid June and early July, where the Nationals had streaks of ten in a row and six in a row that made RFK a rockin’ place to hang out – literally! The Nationals had a five and a half game lead on July 3, and they were the darlings of Washington, and all of baseball. Since that day, it has been all down hill for the Nationals, until this season. The casual fans have left.

Here’s the chance to win them back. Win two of three from the Marlins. Come home, win two of three from the Braves, and then two of three from the Marlins at home. Not a ten game winning streak.

Just two-of-three…

Two-of-three…

Two-of-three.

The Nats can change the world in nine days…

If they can fill the vacuum.

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